May 2 Derry and Strabane Council elections : Focus on the Sperrin area

The Sperrin Ward is one of the two largest in terms of geographical area, crossing the Derry and Tyrone county border and taking in much of Strabane, as well as Plumbridge, Artigarvan, Donemana, Park, Sperrin, Ballynamallaght and Cranagh areas.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 12:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 12:38 pm
The Tinnies in Strabane kkitted out for the town's annual Hallowe'en celebrations.

A total of 15 candidates are standing in this ward - the most of any of the electoral areas to be decided upon - with seven seats to be filled.

In line with the area it covers, Sperrin is one of the most populated wards and Strabane aside, the population is spread out across rural villages and townlands. The total population stands at around 23,840, making it the most populous of the seven regions that make up Derry City & Strabane District Council. Roughly half that population is made up of people from Strabane town.

The latest available figures for the old Sperrin and Strabane regions shows that in terms of age profile, the entire area had a higher than average per centage of young people, with 23 per cent aged 15 and under, while 13 per cent have reached retirement age (65 and over).

Candidates for the Sperrin ward top left: Allan Bresland, Michaela Boyle, Jason Barr, Raymond Barr, Patsy Kelly, Brian McMahon. Middle row from left: Corey French, Scott Moore, Paul Gallagher, Stephen Edwards, Cathal O hOisin, Maurice Devenney. Bottom row from left: Andy McKane, Dan Kelly and Pauline McHenry.

The latest available census shows that around 49 per cent of those residents aged 16 and over are married or in civil partnerships, with just four per cent cohabiting, and one in three people single. Six per cent were widowed.

Over a quarter of residents lived alone, while 17 per cent of families in rural areas and 10 per cent in Strabane had five or more inhabitants under the same roof - against a 12 per cent average for the city and district. Just over 60 per cent of homes have no dependent children, while one in every 25 addresses had four or more children living there.

Strabane aside, around three quarters of homes are detached,and a further 17 per cent semi-detached, while there are only 420 terraced houses across the whole Sperrin area. In Strabane itself, terraced homes made up a third of all housing, while 62 per cent were detached or semi-detached and 57 per cent owner occupied.

In terms of health, around four in every five person reported that their health was generally good, while of those aged 16 and above over a third had not achieved qualifications, while around 16 per cent had reached Level 4 or above.

By the last census, 58 per cent of residents were economically active in Strabane, rising to 64 per cent in the rest of the ward. Issues of interest and concern for local people include roads and community infrastructure, jobs and inward investment, protecting the environment, welfare reform, health, housing and connectivity.

The 15 candidates for the Sperrin area are in alphabetical order:

Jason Barr (SDLP)

Raymond Barr (Independent)

Michaela Boyle (Sinn Féin)

Allan Bresland (DUP)

Maurice Devenney (DUP)

Steven Edwards (SDLP)

Corey French (Independent)

Paul Gallagher (Independent)

Dan Kelly (Sinn Féin)

Patsy Kelly (Independent)

Pauline McHenry

Andy McKane (UUP)

Brian McMahon (Sinn Féin)

Scott Moore (Alliance)